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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

CHAPTEB   VI.

THE HINDU CITY OF

OH the decline of Buddhism, Mathuii acquired that character for sanctity
which it still retains, as the reputed birth-place of the deified Krishna, Or,
more probably, the triumph of Buddhism was a mere episode, on ihe conclu-
sion of which the city recovered a character which it had before enjoyed at a
- much earlier period ; for it may be inferred from the language of the Greek
geographers that Brahmanism was in their time the religion of the country,
while Hindu tradition is uniform in maintaining its claims both to holiness and
antiquity. Thus it is represented as the second of the capitals of ihe Lunar
races wMeh were in succession Prayag, Mathura, Kusasthali,. and Dwaraka ;
and in the following weil-kaown couplet it is ranked among the seven sanc-
tuaries of Hindustan : —
Kas! Kant! dss Mayakbyi tirayoditf a Dwararaty&pi
Matbiirsysnsiki chaita sapta ptuyo ira mokshadah.
uJSJa& (L &, lanaras), Kanti (probably Kanchi), Maya (L e., Haridwar),
•with Ayodhyaj DwaraYaMy Mathuri, and Avaatika, are ihe seven cities of
salvation."
At the present day it has no lack of stately edifices* with wMch^ as described
of old in the Harivansa, fii it rises beautiful as- the cresent moon over the dark
stream of the Jamuni ;* but they are all modern. The neighbourhood is
crowded with sacred sites, which for many generations have been reverenced
as tihe traditionaiy scenes of Krishna's- adventures ; but, thanks to Mnhammadan
Into-leranceg there is not a single building of any antiquity either in the city itself
or its ernwoas. Its most famous temple — that dedicated to Kesara Deva^ — was
destroyed, as already mentioned, in 1669, the eleventh year of the reign of the
ienoclastic Aurangzek ft© mosque erected' on its ruins is a building of littte
architectural value, but fee natural advantages of its lofty and isolated position
reader it a striking feature in the kndscape.   The so-called katet, in which it
a pkce to which frequent allusion has been made m the previous chapter,
is an                            like a mrdey 104 feet in leng^i by 653 feet in breadth.
IB its            w a raised terrae% 172 feet long and 86 feet broad^ upon whidb